Democracy

Why Vietnam is quitting Facebook

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Activists, dissidents and writers are gravitating to other social media platforms as Facebook appears to acquiesce to government censorship demands David Hutt Asia Times When logging onto Minds, an open-source social media platform, it is hard to miss the huge number of posts written in Vietnamese. Of the platform’s over one million users, about 10% hail from Vietnam, according to recent media reports. What’s more, roughly 100,000 of those Vietnamese users signed up in the period of just one week, ... Read More »

Europe’s far right doesn’t bear hug Steve Bannon back

LILLE, FRANCE - MARCH 10:  Former U.S. President Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon gives a press conference during the French far-right Front National (FN) party annual congress on March 10, 2018 at the Grand Palais in Lille, north of France. Le Pen will attempt to revive her battered party this weekend at a conference with a proposal to ditch the tainted National Front brand, seen as a key hurdle to winning power.   (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

Continent’s populists are ambivalent about help from ‘architect’ of Donald Trump’s victory. By MAÏA DE LA BAUME AND LAURENS CERULUS Politico Steve Bannon is out to be a big player in European politics. But his potential European partners are ambivalent, saying they want to keep the controversial American at arm’s length even as they seek to tap his expertise on how to disrupt politics on the… This initial reception signals potential limits to the Bannon push into the Old World — as well as ... Read More »

America is in the middle of a battle over the meaning of words like ‘diversity’

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You might think that the culture war over race and immigration primarily transpires in dramatic events, like the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest Trump’s child detention policy or the events in Charlottesville last summer. Jennifer Mercieca The Conversation But it also exists in the banal and everyday ways that we communicate. It involves battles over the dominant meaning of words, and how we use those words to describe our values and construct our policies. For example, ... Read More »

Justice for the next Generation? The Collapse of Values.

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I was honoured to be invited to give the 2018 Hobart Oration. Julian Burnside It is sponsored by the Bob Brown Foundation. Here is what I said. Hobart Oration 23 July 2018:  Justice for the next Generation?  The Collapse of Values. The two great issues our generation is leaving the next are climate change and the treatment of refugees. Climate change I have no hesitation in saying that climate change is the number one issue today: refugees are a second-order issue, ... Read More »

‘We’ve not ruled anything out!’ McDonnell REFUSES to rule out second referendum on Brexit

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LABOUR’s John McDonnell has refused to rule out a second referendum on Brexit but admitted that it was “not our policy to have another referendum” instead demanding another General Election. Holly Pyne Express Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour‘s policy was not to have a second referendum on Brexit, before adding nothing was ruled out. Mr McDonnell told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We’re not averse to any form of democratic engagement, but our view is that’s not our policy to have ... Read More »

Ecuador ‘close’ to evicting Julian Assange from London embassy

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London: Ecuador is close to withdrawing asylum for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and evicting him from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been living for six years, journalist… The Age Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno went to Britain on Friday to meet with officials to finalise a deal under which protection for Assange will be withdrawn and he will be turned over to British authorities, Greenwald… The Australian national has resided in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, after he ... Read More »

David Mundell: There’s no alternative to the Brexit White Paper

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Today marks 250 days until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The day we will deliver on the result of the referendum and the decision of people in the UK to take back control of the UK’s laws, borders and money. David Mundell * The Scotsman Much has been achieved by the UK government as we prepare for exit day on 29 March, 2019. We have published our Future Partnership White Paper – a comprehensive and ambitious vision for ... Read More »

Why Russia will help the Democrats next

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Election meddling is cheap, effective and here to stay. And hurting the Republicans is the smart strategy for the midterms. Garrett M. Graff Politico Director of U.S. National Intelligence Dan Coats warned last week that the nation is under sustained cyberattack from foreign adversaries like Russia. “I’m here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again,” Coats said, echoing the comments of former CIA Director George Tenet about the summer of 2001. “The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. ... Read More »

Get on board with China or miss out, former World Bank vice-president warns

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Australia should accommodate China’s expansion and tone down its rhetoric or risk missing out on a decade-long economic windfall, the former chief economist of the World Bank has warned. Eryk Bagshaw The Canberra Times Cautioning that a perception of Australia being “uncomfortable” with China’s rise had reached Beijing, Justin Yifu Lin – the former senior vice-president and chief economist of the World Bank – said the resources sector would pay the price for Canberra’s actions. “What is the purpose for Australia ... Read More »

Is a Democratic ‘Blue Wave’ Really Coming?

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Grass-roots frustration within the Democratic Party could lead to the Left’s own version of a Trump phenomenon. Nikolas K. Gvosdev The National Interest Democrats are counting on a “Blue Wave” in the fall 2018 elections to return them to the majority, at least in the House of Representatives, and to pave the way for retaking control of the Executive Branch in the 2020 presidential election. For many card-carrying members of the Democratic foreign policy establishment in Washington, this offers the ... Read More »

Averting War in Gaza

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Israel and Hamas stand on the brink of another full-scale confrontation in Gaza. The only viable exit from the ongoing cycle of escalation is for international actors to use carrots and sticks to bring about intra-Palestinian reconciliation, thereby allowing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern the Gaza Strip. ICG What’s new?  What is new is that little is new: despite repeated claims that efforts are being made to address the situation in Gaza, Israel and Hamas once again are sliding ... Read More »

S Korean ex-leader sentenced to 8 more years

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A South Korean court sentenced former South Korean President Park Geun-hye on July 20 to an additional eight years for abusing state funds and violating election laws. Hurriyet She now faces the prospect of more than three decades behind bars. She’s already serving a 24-year prison term over a massive corruption scandal that led to her removal from office last year. Seoul Central District Court on Friday found her guilty of causing substantial losses to state coffers by unlawfully receiving about 3 billion won ($2.6 million) from chiefs ... Read More »

Indonesia’s Papua Cover-Up Reflex Prompts Police Dormitory Raid

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Authorities Cite ‘Hidden Activities’ to Cancel Screening of Papuan Film Michelle Winowatan HRW Dozens of Indonesian military and police personnel raided a student dormitory in Surabaya on July 6 to stop the screening of a documentary about security force atrocities in Papua. It’s the latest example of the government’s determination not to deal with past abuses in the country’s easternmost province. Security forces carried out the raid following social media postings about the planned screening of “Bloody Biak.” The film documents the ... Read More »

Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg clarifies Holocaust comments after outcry

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Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, recently defended the company’s decision to keep on its platform the site Infowars, a prominent right-wing outlet known for spreading conspiracy theories and… Hamza Shaban Brisbane Times / The Washington Post Zuckerberg said in an interview published by Recode on Wednesday that Facebook has a responsibility to curb the viral spread of hoaxes and blatant misinformation. But he maintained Facebook should not ban publishers for spreading false claims, a position he described as “too extreme.” “The ... Read More »

Israel passes controversial ‘Jewish nation-state law’, stripping Arabs of self-determination right

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Israel has passed a law to declare that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, something members of the Arab minority have called racist and verging on apartheid. ABC The “nation-state” law, backed by the Government, passed by a vote of 62-55 and two abstentions in the 120-member Parliament after months of political argument. Some Arab politicians shouted and ripped up papers after the vote. “This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the ... Read More »

‘Politics of fear’: Obama gives Trump sharp rebuke in Mandela address

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Johannesburg: Former US President Barack Obama took aim at “strongman politics” in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an impassioned address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela’s birth. AP WAtoday While not mentioning his successor by name, Obama’s speech in South Africa countered many of President Donald Trump’s policies, rallying people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, ... Read More »